A new government taskforce was launched by environment secretary George Eustice on Saturday (8 May) to investigate the reported rise in pet theft since the beginning of lockdown.
Over the past year, sales platforms have reported a considerable rise in puppy and kitten prices, with people deciding to adopt or purchase a pet, with experts believing that this may be leading to a rise in pet thefts.
Dogs Trust reports the average price for five of the UK’s most sought after breeds rose significantly during the first lockdown, with the price of some breeds rising by as much as 89%.
As part of its remit, the new taskforce will gather evidence to understand why there is any perceived rise in thefts, and will recommend any necessary measures to tackle the problem.
Under the Theft Act 1968, stealing a pet is considered a criminal offence.
Eustice said: “Pets are much loved members of the family, and these reports will be distressing for all pet owners.
“Pet owners shouldn’t live in fear so we’ve set up this Taskforce to thoroughly investigate the issue and ensure that we have the measures in place to stop these criminals in their tracks.”